The Scout brand is coming back as a rugged electric vehicle

Volkswagen Group will revive the Scout nameplate for an electric vehicle (EV) brand in the near future, the company announced on Thursday.

In 2026, VW wants to introduce a fully electric SUV and pickup for the US market under the name Scout. It will be an independent company that will be responsible for the design, development and production of these vehicles.

“Following Volkswagen’s successful turnaround in the USA, we are now taking the opportunity to further strengthen our position in one of the most important growth markets for electric vehicles,” said VW CEO Herbert Diess in a press release. “Electrification offers a historic opportunity to enter the highly attractive pickup truck and R-SUV segment as a group and underscores our ambition to become a relevant player in the US market.”

Stephanie Brinley, an automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility, told Newsweek that the decision to revive an old nameplate with some cache for a pickup truck, rather than folding it under the VW brand, could make it more memorable for consumers.

Volkswagen Scout
Volkswagen announced plans to revive the Scout brand for all-electric pickups and SUVs in 2026.
Volkswagen AG

“The VW brand is not synonymous with pickup trucks for the United States,” she said. “The decision to use a brand that existed in this space and that some consumers still remember gives it a little more credibility for US consumers than perhaps the VW brand would.”

She said that while the Scout lineup has been out of the public eye for decades, things like social media and auto clubs make it easier for anyone interested in the brand to access information about it.

One of the keys to Scout’s potential success, she explained, is letting the North American team take the reins rather than micromanaging from Wolfsburg.

“What needs to work is making sure they rely on the knowledge base that they have in North America and let that group develop, take the lead and give them the space to regionalize the product.”

International Harvester Travelall
Originally starting out as a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, International Harvester tried its hand at the passenger car market.
Getty Images

The original Scout was a line of two-door pickup trucks and SUVs produced from 1961 to 1980 by agricultural equipment manufacturer International Harvester as a direct competitor to Jeep.

After some financial difficulties, International Harvester discontinued the Scout line and changed its name to Navistar International in 1986.

Navistar manufactures trucks and diesel engines. It is a subsidiary of the commercial vehicle manufacturer Traton, which in turn is a subsidiary of Volkswagen. When Navistar was acquired by Traton, the trademarks for the Scout name passed to VW.

The Scout pickup will have stiff competition in the market. The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, 2022 Rivian R1T and 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup are already on the road.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
The F-150 Lightning differs from the rest of the F-Series with its large LED light bar and closed grille area.
Ford Motor Company

By 2026, the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Ram 1500 EV, and Tesla Cybertruck are slated to join the fray.

Brinley thinks the Scout Pickup EV will likely be the size of the Rivian or Honda Ridgeline to avoid the more difficult cross-shop with the F-150 Lightning or Silverado EV.

Its SUV counterpart will also have its fair share of competitors, although so far the Rivian R1S and GMC Hummer EV SUV are those billed as capable off-roaders.

Prototypes for both vehicles are due to be unveiled next year, with production beginning in 2026. The Scout brand is coming back as a rugged electric vehicle

Rick Schindler

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